Poetry by Cameron Morse
Because our bus overshot the orchard,
we may not have descended through village heaps of rubble,
excretory garbage and stray dogs,
to the valley’s ocean floor of cherry blossoms.
Because we missed the stop while I was practicing my rusty
Mandarin on a undergrad who had
questions for the American, we may never have reached
the vegetable garden hoed by a single woman
in an orange-striped sweater, sunbaked matron
picking her nose with pinkie finger,
or encountered her unabashedly staring son, growing green
onion above the white avalanche.
Deposited somewhere in Guizhou countryside, we may
have settled for the ghost town resort, the vacant
boulevard in which a black sedan
is eternally stopped at the blinking crosswalk, where a magpie
sails six empty lanes and falls to the pristine reception center,
where magnolia saplings with whitewashed trunks
fritter away creamy petals in hard February wind.
Haunted by somebody’s moneyed vision of future profit,
we may—without glimpses of the shaggy
shanks of the thing itself—have mistaken a dream for reality.
About the Poet
Cameron Morse was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in 2014. With a 14.6 month life expectancy, he entered the Creative Writing program at the University of Missouri—Kansas City and, in 2018, graduated with an M.F.A. His poems have been published in numerous magazines, including New Letters, Bridge Eight, and South Dakota Review. His first collection, Fall Risk, won Glass Lyre Press’s 2018 Best Book Award. His second, Father Me Again, is available from Spartan Press and third, Coming Home with Cancer, belongs to Blue Lyra Press’s Delphi Poetry Series. He lives with his wife Lili and son Theodore in Blue Springs, Missouri, where he manages Inklings’ FOURTH FRIDAYS READING SERIES with Eve Brackenbury and serves as poetry editor for Harbor Review. For more information, check out his Facebook page or website.
More than one powerful message here. For me, we have to save the natural beauty that we take for granted.
Right there with you, Mark!
What a poem; what a painting!